In a report from NFL Networks Tom Pelissero, the NFL and the Players Association are currently in discussions about shortening the 2020 NFL preseason.
The NFL and NFLPA are discussing the possibility of shortening the 2020 preseason, per sources.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 10, 2020
Nothing finalized or imminent, but multiple team executives informed of talks currently believe they could end up playing two preseason games, rather than four.
While nothing has been set in stone, the fact both sides are discussing the issue is intriguing. According to Pelissero, the reasoning behind a shortened preseason would be to allow more safety protocols and better preparation time leading into regualar-season games.
Shortening the preseason would allow for a longer “ramp-up” period, regardless of whether players agree to report a week or two early, and provide extra time for medical experts to finalize game-day protocols for testing, etc. More at the top of the hour on @nflnetwork— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 10, 2020
How this development affects the Pittsburgh Steelers is another interesting item. The Steelers are currently scheduled for five preseason games as they are set to kick off the NFL season on Thursday, August 6 against the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The Pro Football Hall of Fame has gone on record as saying they are hopeful to hold their enshrinement activities in early August on schedule. As for the Hall of Fame itself, it reopened to visitors this week.
Today we reopened for visitors after a nearly three-month closure as the entire nation locked down to slow the spread of a global pandemic. @PFHOFPrez welcomed the first guests who came to tour this morning. pic.twitter.com/4bXGuyZ5oR— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) June 10, 2020
When it comes to the remainder of the Steelers 2020 preseason schedule, it will be interesting to see how the NFL adjusts. The Steelers are currently scheduled to play their home matchup’s in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Week 2 hosting the New Orleans Saints. With road games in Week 3 in New York against the Jets and their usual Week 4 matchup against the Panthers being in Carolina this season, it will be interesting to see how the NFL adjusts if they simply just cancel either the first two or last two weeks. Obviously the Steelers will not be the only team with whom they will need to reconsider their home and away schedules.
Of course, this notion of shortening the 2020 NFL preseason may be a bit premature. While the NFLPA and the league are in talks about how to handle the situation if needed, it does not mean the protocol will ever be put in place. But as sports are slowly returning, it is good to have a plan in place should the adjustment be necessary.
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